Thursday, February 4, 2010
A Kajuraho Social
Khajuraho was much hotter than Lucknow and my first impressions were very good. The cold of the north was terrible because I didn’t have the right attire. This new found warmth was very welcoming and I was happy that I made the decision to come Khajuraho. I stayed in a place for 150 Rupees. It was a big room with a double bed and a bathroom. The bathroom was disgusting but that’s why I brought sandals. Right away 2 guys showed up and I guessed that the hotel attendant had called them to show me around and he would make a commission. After much talk about finance and the import export business I had made 2 friends. One of the guys, Kallu, owned a gem shop in town and frequently visited Europe to do business. He rented a loft in the Netherlands which was his base in Europe. The other man made money off tourists. I hadn’t noticed but there were many tourists around, mostly in their 40's or 50's. He had bought a bike with the money and brought tourists to the near by waterfalls or the mountains for a price. His name was Lucky and he was a slim guy 20 years old and at the beginning, didn’t talk much. Kallu was bigger with a belly and spoke excellent English; he had just arrived from a stint in Europe and was excited for the partying ahead. We stood outside his gem shop and had a chai. He was telling me the intricacies of the day to day life in the small town of just of 20,000 people. He was basically my first Indian friend in India and I really appreciated the warmth he displayed to me.
That night we stayed at his shop and drank upstairs. He had a TV and a DVD machine. The only CD's he has were Janet Jackson old school music videos and a movie that was made in the town of the tantrik nature. We bought Old Stag Whisky mixed with water. I didn’t feel threatened and I eased into the conversation that was mostly in Hindi.
The shop was interesting in itself. Kallu the shop owner had servants. He paid them to do what he wanted. The servants would touch our feet and stay in the shadows of the conversation. I made it imperative to include them and show them the same respect that I showed Kallu and Lucky. We ordered food at 11:30pm. It seems that Indians eat very late which was different from what I had been accustomed to all my life. We ordered mutton (sheep) and other delicacies and I paid for the meal.
Lucky, being younger than Kallu had to respect him always. It seemed that the older the more respect you got. Lucky would do anything Kallu said out of respect and admiration for the older person. If someone older than Kallu came into the room he would get up and the older person would take the seat. I found this very interesting and very admirable that in a time of today traditions such as these are still practiced. I also came to learn that family does not drink together. It’s a respect thing as well. For instance Lucky does not drink with his father or any of his brothers; it would be an insult if you showed up at the same party or social event.